University of Leeds Logo

Viral Therapy

 January 22, 2016 | Simon Jenkins

Brain cancer has no apparent cause and is impossible to predict. So where do you start?

You start here at Leeds. The University of Leeds and the city’s two teaching hospitals are home to Britain’s biggest and most ambitious brain cancer research group.

We treat patients in our clinics and we research the disease in our labs and we’re seeing results which could at last offer hope to brain cancer patients. We’ve discovered that a virus injected into a patient will quickly home in on their tumour; the next step is to use this virus to “switch on” the patient’s immune system to attack the cancer.

It’s not a wild idea. Using viruses to fight cancer is an increasingly common therapy, but Leeds is the only place in the UK taking this approach to brain tumours.

The work is led by Susan Short, Professor of Clinical Oncology and Neuro-Oncology: “For decades it was felt nothing could be done for brain cancer patients,” she says. “Now a concentration of expertise at Leeds and our promising early results are finally holding out the hope of success.

“The support of donors – to bring in the brightest young researchers and clinicians, and fund clinical trials to test virus therapies – is crucial to our success.”

Viral Therapy